LIGHTING A SUPER SOLDIER
tom newbury shares his workflow for lighting in Maya and demonstrates how interesting lighting can add narrative to your image
01 Dome light When I begin lighting a scene I will either start with a key light, or a dome light, also known as an IBL or HDRI light. In this case I use a Redshift Dome Light because I want to use it to help set the mood. I generally keep the intensity of this light subtle because I want to control the overall lighting with my area lights. Make sure to keep your render settings at a lower quality because we just need to quickly see the broad strokes of the lights as we add them to the scene. 02 Adding a key light Next step will be to add a key light. I normally just create a single Redshift Physical Light, (more commonly known as an area light) and move it around while I render in Progressive Rendering Mode, (also known as IPR mode). A great tip for beginners is to select the light then go to the Viewport Toolbar and select Panels>view Through Selected. This will help you to achieve the exact angle you want with ease. 03 Key light adjustment After playing with a single key light for a few minutes, testing different angles, I realised a top down light worked best for the look I was going for. I ended up duplicating an array of lights as if the characters were in a sterile environment with fluorescent lights above them. I just made sure to duplicate enough to cover all of the characters. 04 Fill light The fill light is primarily used to fill out the lighting on a character in an area where it may be lacking. Traditionally the fill light will be subtle, but in this case I wanted to add some drama to the scene. 05 Rim light In this case my fill light is doubling as a rim light; I generally use a rim light to frame the character from one side. I find a broad scale light works best for this. I also added some saturated colour to add a sci-fi feel to it. Maybe someone is using a welder while they build these super soldiers; adding story to your lighting can make your scene more interesting.